Molecular fingerprint similarity search in virtual screening

Methods. 2015 Jan;71:58-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2014.08.005. Epub 2014 Aug 15.


Molecular fingerprints have been used for a long time now in drug discovery and virtual screening. Their ease of use (requiring little to no configuration) and the speed at which substructure and similarity searches can be performed with them - paired with a virtual screening performance similar to other more complex methods - is the reason for their popularity. However, there are many types of fingerprints, each representing a different aspect of the molecule, which can greatly affect search performance. This review focuses on commonly used fingerprint algorithms, their usage in virtual screening, and the software packages and online tools that provide these algorithms.

Keywords: Comparison; Data fusion; Fingerprints; Similarity search; Virtual screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Drug Discovery / methods
  • Drug Discovery / trends
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Software